7-Eleven wrench attack victim
George Almestar. Photo credit: Screen shot, 10News.com

A man who struck another man in the head with a wrench outside a 7-Eleven store in Rolando, was sentenced Thursday to 16 years to life in state prison.

John Cowan Patch, 29, was found guilty in August by a San Diego jury of second-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon in the death of George Almestar, who was attacked at around 4:20 a.m. Nov. 5, 2019.

Patch hit Almestar, 30 and a father of four, in the parking lot of the convenience store near El Cajon and Rolando boulevards.

The victim was admitted to a hospital in critical condition and died Nov. 10.

Investigators identified Patch as the suspect through surveillance footage and witness accounts. They arrested him about 11 hours after the attack on El Cajon Boulevard, less than a mile away from the 7-Eleven, authorities said.

In a videotaped interview with San Diego police, Patch said the victim first drove toward him in a truck, then got out of the vehicle and advanced on him, prompting him to strike Almestar in self-defense.

– City News Service


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Ellen Bullock